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Saturday
Nov112017

Reflecting on the "Conditionally Accepted" series about sexual violence

Earlier this year Eric Anthony Grollman put out a call for contributions. Eric wanted to use their column "Conditionally Accepted" as a space to interrogate sexual harassment and assault and higher education.

Eric writes:

Apparently, we do not want to hear survivors, we do not want to believe them, we do not want to recognize them as credible sources on their own experiences. So they have to find their own spaces to share their stories. (See also this Washington Post series.)

So in the spirit of amplifying the voices of the marginalized, “Conditionally Accepted” will feature guest blog posts about sexual violence over the next six months. Yes, we are devoting half the year to this oh-so-important topic, though we know six months is hardly enough. Several guest bloggers from different career stages and academic and social backgrounds contributed to our call for blog posts on rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking and intimate partner violence in higher education. Some people reflect on a personal experience, some offer teaching and research tips, and others offer advice for effectively supporting survivors and ending campus sexual violence.

This series of blog posts will certainly not solve all the issues, but it is at least one way to amplify the voices of survivors -- and, to be certain, that is an important first step.

My contribution to the column was published earlier this month. In my piece I wrote about how assumptions about gender must be challenged in discussions about survivors and perpectrators of sexual violence. But after it was published it made me curious to look back at all the pieces published following the initial call for contributers. Here is what I found 

About halfway through typing this list I had to stop and take a break because I was brought to tears.

I was moved to reflect on the space created for so many victims/survivors and allies in higher education. I was moved to see that Eric persisted with the series even after being asked to stop publishing so many pieces on the topic. I was moved to see stories shared, challenges acknowled and solutions suggested. But I also had the wind knocked out of my by some of the comments: people continuing to reject rape culture, people who dismiss the trauma of sexual violence on campus, people totally unwilling to acknowledge white supremacy and privilege in how sexual violence persists.

Yet these essays say that we resist this ignorance and silencing. They say I am not alone and nor are you. And perhaps most importantly they also say we need to listen, learn and acknowlege the toll that sexual violence is taking on our campus community including students, faculty, and staff. Navigating this road at our various instittutions can be very lonely and challngeing, but for today in visiting these essays I'm reminded of how many of us are in this together and grateful to call myself a part of this "Conditionally Accepted" series. 

 Update: Below are the links to the final few pieces in the series that were published after my blog post:

 

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